“But Don't We Have to do SOMETHING About ISIS?”

Debra Sweet | September 25, 2014

The most frequently asked question I'm hearing, including among people who have been active in opposing U.S. wars, is “but, don't we have to do something about ISIS?”

Yes, “we” do.  We — people living in this country — do have to send a loud message to the rest of the world that we are completely against the killing, theft of resources, subjugation of women and denial of peoples’ rights in the region by the forces responsible.

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The Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) is both a response to U.S. occupation of the region, and also literally, in some cases, was created by torture in U.S. prisons in Iraq; by billions of dollars in U.S. arms strewn about the region; and funded by close U.S. allies Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, societies where people also have scarcely any rights.  The Islamic State offers a disastrous future for the people, and is no damn good.

But U.S. occupations, bombs, economic exploitation, and support of every reactionary regime in the region have done more damage, by far, than any Islamic fundamentalist group in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It was the Bush regime that sold the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq — countries which never attacked the U.S. — on the basis of defeating the Taliban and al Qaeda, only to have strengthened the basis on which they operate.

Mr. Fish cartoon

Cartoon by Mr. Fish

“This is a vision of the world in which might makes right, a world in which one nation’s borders can be redrawn by another.”  President Obama said this at the UN yesterday, in his long lecture to the world's nations about violence and justice.  Of course, his criticism was directed only at countries with which the US is currently at war, not to his current allies in the war of terror in the region.  But certainly this accurately describes the U.S. method for holding on to empire.

Needed now: a powerful anti-war movement in the world's most dangerous country.  That would be the one expanding its nuclear arsenal, according to Monday's New York Times.

Monday, the United States began a bombing campaign in Syria, months after it began 200 airstrikes on Iraq.  We are told that the strikes targeted ISIS bases in at least four provinces of Syria, and a newly-identified “terrorist organization.”  Pretense under Bush, as now under Obama, of “humanitarian aid” fails to disguise the true nature of U.S. aggression — attempting to strengthen U.S. domination of the region.

Once again, from the most powerful military in world history, protecting the largest-ever economy, bombs.  As in 24 years of bombing Iraq, 13 of  Afghanistan, like Libya, Somalia and Yemen. Has this done anything to liberate anyone or save lives? These illegitimate, unjust immoral wars of aggression have not.

If by “we,” you mean the U.S. government and its military, NO.  The U.S. military cannot do anything to stop the violence of ISIS.  It can only continue creating the conditions on which it grows: 9/11's all over the region.

Obama owns this ultimate war crime — invasion of a sovereign nation that poses no imminent threat to the aggressor. “We” did not ask for or approve this war.  U.S. attacks always lead to civilian casualties and are fueling — not “degrading” — the spread of groups like ISIS.

NOTHING good can come from U.S. bombing, and we need to say so immediately and widely.  We began Tuesday in NYC, and Wednesday in Chicago and San Francisco.

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NYC

NYC

Chicago

Chicago (photo: FJJ)

SF

San Francisco (photo: SFGate.com)

Debra Sweet is the Director of World Can't Wait.